Obras Dramáticas (Biblioteca Clásica, Madrid)
In the late 19th century, Guillermo (or William) Macpherson translated many of Shakespeare's plays. A few were published individually, and they were later issued as Obras Dramaticas de Guillermo Shakespeare part of the Biblioteca Clásica series. Constituting 23 plays in eight volumes, with introductions by Eduardo Benot, Macpherson's translation was apparently well received, and the set was republished at least twice. The Folger has copies from three editions dating back to the Folgers' own acquisitions, though either they or early Folger catalogers identified as a complete edition what actually appears to be a "Frankenstein edition", assembled from halves of two different editions. Other libraries have done the same with these sets, including the Library of Congress. This page attempts to shed some light on this tangled bibliographic history.
All of the plays 23 in this set are translated by Guillermo Macpherson, with introductions by Eduardo Benot. The publishers vary even within the separate editions, but the content of the volumes and order of the plays appear uniform:
|2||1885||University of Michigan|
|4||1887||University of Michigan|
|5||1892||University of California, Michigan|
|6||1895||University of California, Michigan|
|7||1896||University of Michigan|
|8||1897||University of California, Michigan|
|3||1899||University of Michigan|
Volume numbers in bold represent those owned by the Folger. Dates in italics represent those gleaned only from catalog records (other dates have been verified by examination of title pages); a question mark indicates further uncertainty.
Much of this reconstruction is still tentative. It seems clear that there were at least three editions issued between 1885 and 1914. (This article will refer to these as the first, second, and third editions, though that may ultimately not be correct.) The references listed below speak of an 1885-1897 edition—combined with the digital images above, we can be fairly confident that this represents a discrete edition, and probably the first. The publishers of the Biblioteca Clásica were also producing other titles at this time, but if this reconstruction is accurate, the Shakespeare volumes seemed to sell well, with the second edition starting the same year, finishing in about only four years, compared to the first edition's 14. Evidently, work on the third edition began around 1907, lasting until 1912 or 1914.
Examination of the title pages between the first and second editions shows clear differences. While scans of the third edition are unavailable, they appear different still, though much more similar to the second edition.
Some caveats are worth addressing. There's no guarantee that these volumes were published in any neat order. We have solid evidence of three different dates for the first three volumes, compared to only one date each for volume 6 and 7. The three complete editions surmised here may be a complete fiction. In fact, since the Folger's "third edition" volumes 1-4 aren't in order, there must have either been some out-of-order publishing or an all-1907 edition published previously. Where dates are lacking in the above tables, there may never have been anything published there. And of course, title pages can lie.
If your library has any volumes from these editions that could solve more parts of the puzzle, please contact Folger cataloger Alex Kyrios (akyrios at folger.edu).
The Folger's holdings of these sets are under three different call numbers, though not ones that correspond with the different editions identified here. Since they're all under the Library of Congress Classification system, which the Folger doesn't use for new items, and since they're in the Vault, where readers can't browse anyway, Folger catalogers decided not to reclassify them.
- PR2796 .S5 1885 Sh.Col. is a single play, Otelo, from volume 3 of the first edition. It has been separately bound.
- PR2796 .S5 1892-1909 Sh.Col. is purportedly a complete edition, though it mixes the first four volumes from third edition with the last four of the first.
- PR2796 .S5 1897 Sh.Col. is volume 1 of the second edition alone.
Holdings of other libraries have not been inspected in person, but judging by WorldCat records and scans, the Folger wasn't the only library to collect a set of eight volumes from different editions. The University of Michigan seems to mostly have the first edition, plus a third-edition volume 3. The Library of Congress seems to have a set with volumes 1-3 of the second edition and 4-8 of the first. A few other libraries appear to have incomplete sets.
- Eduardo Julia Martínez, Shakespeare en España (Madrid: Tip. de la "Rev. de Arch., Bibl. y Museos", 1918), 38-49.
- Ricardo Ruppert y Ujaravi, Shakespeare en España (Madrid: Tip. de la "Rev. de Archivos, Bibl. y Museos", 1920), 69-70, 76-77.
- Alfonso Par, Shakespeare en la Literatura Español (Madrid: Librería General de Victoriano Suárez, 1935), 2:101-104.
- Pilar Regalado Kerson, "Hamlet en españa en el siglo XIX: Hacia un nuevo concepto de traducción Shakespeariana," Actas del XI Congreso de la Associación Internacional de Hispanistas (1992): 53-62.